Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Franka Charlupski - November 19, 1981

Help from German Civilians

But the Germans in the--the civilians in Bremen saw you regularly?

There were some civilians. And that's another thing might sound amazing. They would put--like we were working outside--under rocks we would find a sandwich. They didn't want to be recognized that they're doing it. And for what happens , it wasn't--I don't have to tell you, you know, you would have wound up in a concentration camp. As a matter of fact, I had a woman, once place that we were working uh, I had a woman--a very poor woman, that uh, helped me. How did it come about? I was walking by--you always look if you can find something. This was the, you know, in order to survive you had to look if you could find something, otherwise you couldn't survive. And uh, this woman was chopping wood and she had one arm, one arm just cut off. She told me later her grandfather did it. And um, I asked her if I could help her. I wasn't that good, and I wasn't anxious to work, but I figured maybe after I'll get a piece of bread. You know, I'll come up with something. And sure enough I picked the right person. She was a very poor woman. Uh, matter of fact she lived on only on um, ration uh, cards, because she didn't have much. Her husband worked--he was I think uh, roof...a roofer. But a person with a heart, and she says she oh, she would be very glad if I did. So I chopped the wood, stacked it up for her. I'm hoping she'll give me a piece of bread. She didn't do just that, she took me into her house. And made some lunch for me, I ate and then she says, "Who are you with?" And I said, "I have a sister and a girlfriend." She gave me some bread, for them. And she put the radio on. Not the regular radio, what, what do you call the uh, that you could hear uh, uh, international news?

Short wave radio?

Short wave radio. I says, "Why are you doing this?" I says, "If they catch you--not enough they would catch me here--you get into concentration camp, but if they catch you--if we're together with the radio, we can be killed!" She says, "I don't care." So, there was this woman, and I went there as long as I worked in that place. Every day I would disappear for a couple hours and I would get the news, I would get some food, and come back. They--nobody found out. If uh, I mean they were watching--I had the others watching for me, in case--to let me know I had to be back.

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